TODAY -

CM to be taken into confidence ? Idea of Manipur
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: November 13 2020 -



So many things can be read into the purported plans of the Centre to consult Chief Minister N Biren to know the position of Manipur on the ongoing peace process between New Delhi and the Naga armed groups.

To many in Manipur what the Centre inks with the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) will be of little import, for their demand does not go beyond the boundary of Nagaland.

It is the final deal with the NSCN (IM) that will be of utmost importance to Manipur and this is where the position of the people and the State will have to be spelt out clearly before New Delhi.

As a man who has been in the public sphere even before he became a politician, having been the Editor of a vernacular daily, Chief Minister N Biren may be said to be well placed in this respect.

So many things may be read into the plans of the Centre to talk with the Chief Minister before the final deal is inked and while this has been the demand of quite a large number of civil society organisations, particularly COCOMI, the very stand of New Delhi to consult the Chief Minister of Manipur may be taken to mean that the State may be affected when the final deal is signed.

If it is affected, then what would be acceptable to the people of Manipur and what would not be ?

This is an important question for something will have to be given to the NSCN (IM), after all these years of political negotiations.

But the important point, what is it that may be acceptable to the people of Manipur?

This is a point which CSOs which have been at the forefront of putting across the position of Manipur must have deliberated and should deliberate.

As of now, the NSCN (IM) continues to stick to its demand for a separate Constitution and a flag, but as stated earlier here, Manipur will need to be on high alert, for something else may be given in place of a separate flag and Constitution.

And that something may go against the interest of Manipur.

No one seems to know which way the political dialogue with the NSCN (IM) is heading towards and this is one reason why speculations do the round and in the process sow the seeds of suspicion and animosity.

And such seeds were sown back as early as 1997, when the ceasefire was first signed between the outfit and the Government of India.

This is a long period of time and it would be interesting to see how the Chief Minister puts across the position of Manipur to New Delhi.

It is clear from the interview Th Muivah gave to Karan Thapar on the The Wire some time back, that the NSCN (IM) is still wedded to the idea of a Greater Lim or Nagalim, though it may have been put on the back burner for the time being.

This is what Manipur is staunchly against and this is a point which has been put forth in clear cut terms.

How the Chief Minister verbalises this stand before the Centre will also go some way in adding muscle to the position of Manipur.

The responsibility is clear and perhaps it would help if the Chief Minister can consult the numerous civil society organisations, think tanks, the experts in different fields and scholars to place Manipur's position before the Centre more effectively.

As noted earlier here, something will have to be given to the NSCN (IM), but it should not erode the identity of Manipur as a distinct geo-political reality.

This is a point which should be made clear before New Delhi, Flag, Constitution do not concern the interest of Manipur but definitely the idea of Manipur does concern all the people here.



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